The Problem With Construction Data Collection

By melanie masanque on February 18, 2014
Tags: Data Collection

One of the primary industries making the jump to implement mobile apps into their processes is the construction industry. Why? Because mobile apps remove many pain points previously unavoidable. They have the ability to not only streamline their business processes but also enhance their data collection in a few different ways.  

Inefficient

For an industry as large as construction, a surprisingly amount of their data collection processes are still handwritten. Whether it is in the field or back in the office, paper forms require a great deal of labor. Handwriting reports are time consuming enough, without counting the time your office worker has to spend deciphering messy handwriting, re-entering the information into your records, or scanning the form into your online filing system.

Going mobile removes these issues with clean text, and bypassing redundant data entry. Every submission is sent straight to the cloud. There, it can be exported into a variety of programs from Salesforce to Quickbooks. No longer do you have to spend time entering data a second time into your system. Your workers will enter it once, and it’s all done.

Lack of Standardization

With handwriting, your employees pretty much have free reign to collect data as they please. Required fields are skipped, accuracy can be questionable, especially if they fill out the form eight hours later. Not only do mobile apps make sure that everyone is collecting the same information, but they eliminate the issue of skipped fields by allowing particular fields to be required. Being on a smartphone or tablet, mobile apps are an easy user experience, encouraging your workers to enter the data now, not later.

Limited Data Capture

Details matter, especially in a field as meticulous as construction. Paper, however, limits the type of data you can collect. It requires you to fill out aspects of your report such as descriptions and photos separately, forcing you to go back later and compile all the data. This can also lead to issues such as mismatched descriptions or photos, only weakening the data you collected.

With mobile apps, employees are able to expand their data with sources such as take photos, capture GPS location, scan barcodes, and run calculations all in one go. A mobile app automatically compiles all the data in a report. Expand your data in new ways, and understand your business like never before.

Delayed Information Sharing

Construction sites are dependent on the communication between field and office workers, particularly in the realm of tracking time and daily work reports. Reports filled out via paper need to be transported all the way from the field back to the office. This often means they aren’t submitted until the end of the week, which can backlog your office employees for some time.

But this delay ends up hurting you, the decision maker. A lag in data delays your understanding of the costs of a project, as well as knowledge of if it’s running on schedule. It limits your ability to make decisions to change the course of a project. Over the long run, the companies that can keep their costs down and projects on time are the construction companies that thrive. A mobile app, will help you make those decisions earlier and strengthen your projects for the long run.

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